The HLPF is discussing ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that puts us on track to realize the 2030 Agenda
By Saskia Burn and María Victoria Espada – Since 2016, the United Nations (UN) High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) has met every July in New York to follow up on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in September 2015 at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development.
Fostering a sustainable and resilient recovery
The HLPF 2021 is being held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) between Tuesday 6 and Friday 16 of July. This year’s theme is “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.” The majority of the HLPF takes place virtually, as it did in 2020, and the entire program can be followed online through UN Web Tv Live.
This year, SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 12 (responsible production and consumption), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnerships to achieve the goals) will be under review. The debates also focus on the Covid-19 pandemic, its impacts, and possible responses to mitigate the effects. The reviews and debates are informed by the United Nations Secretary General’s Report on the progress made to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, among other specific reports and documents.
Exchanging experiences between countries
An important part of HLPF 2021 is the presentation of voluntary national reviews (VNRs), in which 42 UN member states report on their progress in implementing the SDGs at the national level. Among them are five countries where Dianova is actively involved: Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay. Another goal of the VNRs is to facilitate the exchange of experiences, challenges, and solutions between countries and to strengthen government policies and institutions in order to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Listening to the voices of civil society
During the HLPF, the diverse voices of civil society are brought to the table through the participation of Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS), whose importance in UN activities related to sustainable development has been understood since the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 (UNCED). The MGoS were part of the initial development and adoption of the 2030 Agenda and they continue to work consistently and actively on its implementation and monitoring. Part of the work undertaken by the major groups is reflected in the annual presentation of discussion papers on the theme of that year’s HLPF and the SDGs under review. The presentation of discussion papers is one of the forms of engagement that has been available to the MGoS since the first HLPF.
The Non-Governmental Organizations Major Group (NGO MG), of which Dianova International is presently a global organizing partner, is in charge of facilitating the participation of NGOs in processes directly and indirectly related to the HLPF. As in previous years, the NGO MG has prepared a position paper that conveys the input of its members, as well as the concerns and opportunities identified by them regarding the SDGs under review.
Ensuring universal and equitable access to essential services
One of the primary appeals of the position paper is to urge governments to prioritize the marginalized communities most affected by the pandemic and to ensure that basic services and social protection systems offer universal, equitable coverage. Dianova International has also submitted an individual written statement (see page 186) to the HLPF, in the same spirit as the international awareness campaign launched in June 2020, requesting that addiction services be recognized as essential and receive the same levels of support as other health services.
Empathy, vision, leadership, solidarity and multilateralism
Every year, the HLPF concludes with the presentation of a Ministerial Declaration negotiated and approved by consensus by all member states that provides guidance and recommendations on the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda. However, as the HLPF 2021 is about to conclude, a consensus has yet to be reached, which puts the future of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at risk.
Dianova joins the MGoS in urging the UN member states to reach an agreement at a time when empathy, vision, leadership, solidarity, and exemplary multilateralism are needed more than ever before.